PSAT Writing : Identifying Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Identifying Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

The world was forever changed by the discovery of deep sea eels, who’s skin possessed remarkable healing propertiesNo error.

Possible Answers:

was forever

remarkable healing properties

changed by

No error.

who's skin

Correct answer:

who's skin

Explanation:

The wrong form of who’s/whose is used here. “Who’s” is a contraction for “who is,” while here we want a possessive, which is "whose." The corrected sentence reads, "The world was forever changed by the discovery of deep sea eels, whose skin possessed remarkable healing properties."

Example Question #1 : Identifying Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

The small children on the plane found that there ears were in extreme pain due to its rapid descent from a high altitude. No error

Possible Answers:

in extreme

on

there

its

No error

Correct answer:

there

Explanation:

“There” is an adverb that means a specified place, while "their" is the possessive form of the pronoun "they." So, “their” should be used in this sentence in order to show possession, and "there" is the part of the sentence that contains the error.

Example Question #2 : Identifying Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

The grandmother was very proud for her daughter, who had just won a very competitive statewide cross-country race. No error

Possible Answers:

for

No error

statewide

was 

who

Correct answer:

for

Explanation:

Idiomatically, when the word "proud" is used, it may be accompanied by the preposition “of,” but not “for.” Therefore, the phrase “proud for” should actually be “proud of," and "for" is the part of the sentence that contains an error.

Example Question #66 : Identifying Other Usage Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

If under a lot of stress, your much more likely to make mistakes that you otherwise would not make if operating under normal circumstances. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

operating under

your

under

otherwise

Correct answer:

your

Explanation:

“Your” is the possessive form of the pronoun "you," which doesn't make sense in the sentence. The word “you’re,” the contracted form of “you are," should be used instead.

Example Question #4 : Identifying Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

My cousin insists on eating hole wheat bread because it is supposed to contain more fiber than the white bread that the rest of our family eats. No error

Possible Answers:

than 

on 

hole

No error

it is 

Correct answer:

hole

Explanation:

The "whole" in "whole wheat" refers to the use of whole grains. "Hole" is a noun, and conveys a physical hole. In this context, the underlined word should be spelled "whole," not "hole."

Example Question #67 : Identifying Other Usage Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Like a mussel, patience can be strengthened with exercise, time, practice, and persistence. No error

Possible Answers:

can be

and

with

No error

mussel

Correct answer:

mussel

Explanation:

A "mussel" is a type of shellfish and is not appropriate for this sentence. The word that the sentence needs to use is "muscle."

Example Question #1 : Identifying Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Even though the teacher told the student, "You have to remove you're shoes," the advice made no impact. No error

Possible Answers:

student,

you're 

made

though 

No error

Correct answer:

you're 

Explanation:

The underlined word, "you're" should be "your," as it is reflecting the student's possession of his or her shoes. "You're" is used when intending to communicate "you are," which would not be appropriate for this sentence.

Example Question #2 : Identifying Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

It doesn’t matter weather it is rainy or sunny tomorrow, because the volleyball team is sure to hold practice. No error

Possible Answers:

sure to

No error

because

or

weather

Correct answer:

weather

Explanation:

When describing two possibilities, the appropriate word is “whether,” not “weather,” which refers to the climate

Example Question #3 : Identifying Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Bill, who was not looking forward to seeing his mean cousins, told his mother, “There going to make fun of me.”  No error

Possible Answers:

No error

who 

There

forward to

his

Correct answer:

There

Explanation:

"They’re" is a contraction that means “they are," whereas "there" refers to a specified location. “They’re” is the appropriate word to use in this sentence, not “there.”

Example Question #4 : Identifying Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Mario yelled,You’re not the only one whose tired; it’s been a long day, and practice was truly exhausting.” No error

Possible Answers:

you're

yelled,

it's

No error 

whose

Correct answer:

whose

Explanation:

The contraction “who’s," which is a shortened form of "who is," should replace “whose,” which is a possessive pronoun and doesn't make sense in the sentence.

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